The job interview: going that extra mile


You’re well prepared. You’ve read up on the company. You’ve practiced all the hard questions and even written down your answers. You’ve printed off your CV and have been to the dry cleaners and back. Bring on next week’s job interview!

Yet a little voice is telling you it may not be enough.  It’s reminding you that a job interview isn’t like a college exam. That a ‘pass’ won’t do it – that there’s only one winner. So what can you do now to be that winner?

In business as in life, we sow what we reap. Sometimes we just get lucky, but in the main you won’t achieve your goals without going that extra mile over your rivals. The job interview is a case in point, so here goes …

Work on impression

Set up a mock interview with a mentor or trusted friend in a plausible office-type environment. Concentrate not so much on answering the questions but more on how you carry yourself … how you enter the room, how you shake hands, how you sit. Video it if you can – you will learn lots and you’ve given yourself a real head-start!

Show you want it

Nothing is more important to a prospective employer than to see appetite and desire. Tip: recce the journey to the interview the day before to gauge the traffic and ensure you won’t be late – and make sure to drop it in the interview that you’ve done this! It’s an effort, but tell yourself: “Most interviewees won’t have done this, so I’m keeping ahead of the pack.”

Do more than Google search

Don’t limit your research to a cursory search on Google – download the company annual report and digest the Chairman’s statement to get a feel for the key issues and messages. Talk to someone in the industry about the company (and again, don’t be shy in mentioning it at interview).

Companies tend to think (mistakenly) that everyone sees their advertising, so best to check it out!

And don’t just do your Google search the week before – do it again on the morning of the interview. Being able to converse about a live company or industry issue will really impress. It’s what on their minds, so show them it’s on yours.

Know your interviewer

Try to find out in advance who will be across the table and check out their profiles on LinkedIn. Look out for any commonalities in education, sport, mutual connections, etc. and find a way to air them in the interview. Be subtle in how you do it.

We’ll finish up with easy one … Smile! Remember, landing this job this would likely be the start of some long and quite intense human relationships.  Don’t underestimate the value of being liked at the interview. There’s a natural tendency for the interviewee to be over-earnest, self-centred, even bombastic. Remember, no one wants to work with that person.

Good luck!

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